Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In this episode, Jeff talks about one habit many of the most successful people practice: gratitude. Gratitude has been shown to improve your physical and psychological health, relationships, self-esteem, sleep quality, and empathy. Gratitude is especially important for leaders because an attitude of gratitude will help you to accomplish more and drive out negative thoughts and mindsets.
The best leaders make a daily practice of expressing gratitude. They constantly look for people who are making a difference and acknowledge their efforts. When they do, they motivate and inspire people and drive things forward, regardless of their title.
Tips for expressing gratitude:
Take time to thank people individually, in addition to as a group.
Individual recognition is more meaningful and more powerful.
Express your thanks as close to the event as possible.
A “thank you” received months later is nice but loses its power.
Don’t just thank people when it is expected. Go out of your way to find reasons to be grateful.
Use small gaps of downtime in your schedule to call people randomly to check in and thank them for their effort or performance.
When you call people just to check-in, see how they are doing, and highlight some things about them that you appreciate, it goes a long way.
If your gratitude is not authentic, it will do more damage than good.
Gratitude needs to become who you are, not what you do.
If you have not been intentional about showing your thanks and appreciation, it may take time for people to see that you are being genuine. Stay consistent, and don’t give up.
If it feels like the leader is giving thanks out of obligation or as part of a process, it loses all power.
Giving a shoutout on a conference call is nice, but be sure to follow up with the person individually to show your sincerity.
Culture is something that is caught, not taught. When a leader shows gratitude for specific actions, it encourages others to duplicate those actions. Some leaders see showing gratitude as a sign of weakness, but when you do it the right way, it tells your organization that it is accepted and encouraged.
Q: Describe a time when someone thanked you unexpectedly. How did it make you feel? How did it affect your desire to work with them?
Q: How would you rate your organization’s culture of gratitude on a scale from 1-10? What would it take for your organization to move toward a 10? How can you be a part of that change, regardless of your position on the org chart?
Q: What defines a sincere expression of gratitude to you? How can you tell the difference between a sincere expression of gratitude and an insincere expression of gratitude? Do you think there is any value in an insincere expression of gratitude? How can you make sure that your gratitude both is and looks sincere?
If you do not already, find a time in your day where you write down or say out loud 5-10 things that you are thankful for. Set a time where you know that you will not be interrupted and stick with it. If you want to become a grateful person, you will need to keep your thoughts focused on the things you are thankful for.
Schedule time to express your gratitude toward other people. You can set aside time once a week to write at least one thank you note or even keep a running list of people you want to thank and call a different person in the car on the way home from work every Monday. Once again, set a time where you know that you will not be interrupted and stick with it!
Consider the ways that your team members like to be thanked. Some people enjoy quality time, while others prefer written words of affirmation or gifts. When you show appreciation in a way that acknowledges your team members’ individuality and preferences, you will appear more genuine than if you adopt a one size fits all strategy.